It is a major honour that gives a huge boost to player profiles, as it was at the 2014 World Cup where Rodriguez's prolific form earned him international recognition and a move to Real Madrid.
Ahead of this summer's tournament, Goal takes a look at the Golden Boot award – and how it differentiates from the Golden Ball – and names some potential contenders as well as past recipients of the award.
What is the Golden Boot?
The Golden Boot award is presented to the top scorer at each World Cup finals.
It is not to be confused with the Golden Ball award, which is given to the player who performed the best during the competition, with a shortlist drawn up by the FIFA committee and the finalists voted for by representatives of the media.
The current iteration of the Golden Boot has been ongoing for two tournaments. Before 2010, the award was named the "Golden Shoe" from 1982 to 2006.
Prior to 1982, there was no award for scoring the most goals in the finals of the World Cup – top scorers were just given the title of "Top Goalscorer" with no formal recognition given.
If two players have scored the same amount of goals during a World Cup tournament, their rankings are judged first by the number of assists made, and then by how many minutes played (if two goalscorers are tied, the player who played fewer minutes will be ranked higher).
Who are previous winners?
James Rodriguez won the award in 2014 after scoring six goals in the finals held in Brazil, registering a further two assists. The Colombian attacking midfielder had looked bright at Monaco prior to the tournament, but the World Cup and his impressive form definitely raised the attention of some of the biggest clubs in the world – including Real Madrid, who came calling later that summer.
Runners-up for the 2014 award include 2010 winner Thomas Muller, who scored five goals and provided three assists (and was also named as the winner of the Silver Boot award, the honour given to the second-best scorer at the tournament). Brazil's Neymar came third in the running for the Golden Boot, scoring four goals and one assist.
|World Cup||Golden Boot Winner(s)||Goals Scored|
|2014||James Rodriguez (COL)||6|
|2010||Thomas Muller (GER)||5|
|2006||Miroslav Klose (GER)||5|
|1998||Davor Suker (CRO)||6|
|1994||Hristo Stoichkov (BUL), Oleg Salenko (RUS)||6|
|1990||Salvatore Schillaci (ITA)||6|
|1986||Gary Lineker (ENG)||6|
|1982||Paolo Rossi (ITA)||6|
|1978||Mario Kempes (ARG)||6|
|1974||Grzegorz Lato (POL)||7|
|1970||Gerd Muller (FRG)||10|
|1962||Florian Albert (FRA), Valentin Ivanov (URS), Garrincha (BRA), Vava (BRA) Drazan Jerkovic (YUG), Leonel Sanchez (CHI)||4|
|1958||Just Fontaine (FRA)||13|
|1954||Sandor Kocsis (HUN)||11|
|1934||Oldrich Nejedly (TCH)||5|
|1930||Guillermo Stabile (ARG)||8|
Who are Golden Boot contenders for World Cup 2018?
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku has four goals from two games, with two apiece coming in wins over Tunisia and Panama. Cristiano Ronaldo also scored four goals in the group phase but Portugal's elimination at the last-16 stage means he will not catch Kane.
France's teenage striker Kylian Mbappe, Uruguay's Edinson Cavani and Russia attacking duo Artem Dzyuba and Denis Cheryshev are in the quarter-finals with three goals scored each, and could threaten Kane for the trophy.
Other outsiders on two goals that remain in the tournament include Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, France forward Antoine Griezmann, Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Uruguay veteran Luis Suarez, and Belgium attacker Eden Hazard.
Longer shots - but also with two goals scored - are Sweden penalty taker Andreas Granqvist, Colombia centre-back Yerry Mina, and England defender John Stones.
There are dozens of players left in the finals with one goal and it's impossible to rule out these long shots from bagging a hat-trick and catapulting up the race for the latter stages.